Thursday, November 4, 2010

There's One in Every Family: Great Grandma Ada and Her Love of Family Heritage

Ada Steen, who later married Leroy Parker, is seen to the left with her identical twin sister Alpha. The twin girls were born to Charles and Sarah Steen on February 3, 1880. Ada Steen Parker was my great grandmother. She and Grandpa Roy Parker lived on a farm on Perkins Township for many years. My mother, Joyce Parker Orshoski, used to spend a lot of time at her grandparents' farm. During long winter afternoons, Grandma Ada would let Mom look through her family scrapbooks.

The scrapbooks were part diary, and part scrapbook, and contained other information as well.

A recipe for corned beef, which starts with 100 pounds of beef is found inside the front cover of the scrapbook.

These entries from November, 1929, tell briefly of Grandma Ada's daily activities. She seems to have had a lot of enjoyable events with family and friends, in between the many tasks connected with helping her husband run the family farm. Between November 2 and 12, 1929, Grandma helped haul sand, haul cabbage, made cider, and also had the children for supper one night, and had a birthday dinner on another evening.

In the second half of the scrapbook are newspaper clippings of events that were important to Grandma Ada. Below is an article about distant relatives who celebrated an anniversary.

Many obituaries were included in Grandma's scrapbook.

I think that the love of family was instilled in Ada by her mother Sarah.(Sarah is at the far left in the Steen family image below.) Sarah was adopted by Henry and Huldah Milner when she was quite young. I think that because Sarah was loved by her adoptive parents so much, that she wanted to ensure that her husband and children were also loved and appreciated. The love and devotion to family that the Milners extended to their youngster Sarah was passed on by Sarah to her own children, and my Great Grandma Ada just kept that theme going. To me their family devotion shows the Golden Rule in action.

Shortly before Grandma Ada died, she gave two family scrapbooks to my mom, her granddaughter. Mom treasured these items, which she always called "Grandma's books." When I learned how to read, I too would go page by page through these scrapbooks, asking questions of my mom. So often I did not know whether the article was about a family or friend, and I asked Mom about the people who were mentioned in the newspaper clippings. I learned so much by looking through these scrapbooks. Now the scrapbooks have been passed down to me. I feel so blessed to have them, even they are well worn and crumbling from age. I am thankful that Grandma Ada passed the love of the family heritage on to my mother, who then passed it down to me. Even my young niece Julia is interested in the family tree. Thanks Grandma Ada for that "genealogy bug."

Here is a photo of Grandma Ada and Grandpa Roy with their children, Glenn, Janet, and Paul at their fiftieth wedding anniversary. By that time, son Steen had already passed away.

Though Grandma Ada and Grandpa Roy Parker are gone, their memories remain, and the love of the family history is being passed down to future generations.


Yvonne said...

Oh Dorene, I love your stories about family. What treasures you have in the scrapbooks. How fortunate you are to hold this history in your hands and share with your family.

Dorene from Ohio said...

Thanks that Mom is gone, the family memories seem more

StoneGardens said...

Great post Dorene! I remember visiting my grandmother when I was young and going thru old photos & asking who was who & where was this taken, etc. I don't know how she put up with me! But now, I have sooo many treasured memories and still the love of family history!

Thanks for sharing!
Jacquie Wilson

Dorene from Ohio said...

I am so glad that you have those
special memories too!!

Heather Wilkinson Rojo said...

What a nice post! And I love the recipe for corned beef. It must have been half a cow in there. And saltpeter- isn't that an ingredient in gunpowder. I'm amazed at the calculations, too, like the 32 tsp = 1 cup. I wonder how often she need that?

JamaGenie said...

I'm a tad jealous that you were blessed with an ancestress who knew how to make family history come alive for her children by keeping those scrapbooks. What treasures! My mother's family wasn't interested in such things, but my dad's Cousin Vivian was and visits to her were filled with wonderful stories about their side of the family. Although I never saw them, I'm told she too kept scrapbooks of family events which, alas, went to her daughter (an only child) who had no interest in their contents. So sad.

Dorene from Ohio said...

I have been told that Grandma Ada had several more scrapbooks, that were thrown breaks my heart, so I try not to think about it!

It is wonderful that you got to visit your cousin Vivian! Wonderful memories are priceless!